Ari Pepper of The Happy Cactus currently sells at two boutiques in addition to her Etsy shop. BBC& Blush in Beaufort, SC, as well as The Switch House here in Huntsville, both carry her bags. Like many crafters, she got her start after seeing a purse and thinking, “I can make that.” After giving several purses as gifts to friends, people began offering to pay her and she opened her Etsy shop. Her favorite thing about the process is of course, shopping. “I love shopping for fabric,” says Pepper. “I try to find the most interesting fabric I can and also try to support designers that are less well known or just starting out.” Pepper’s advice for aspiring artists and crafters: “Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for advice!”
Ellen Moran creates delicate and feminine gemstone and pearl jewelry for her shop Tiny Baubles. Frustrated with how difficult it was to find jewelry she envisioned would go with various outfits, she began making it herself. Eight years ago, her sister began selling the pieces in her gallery and that gave Moran the confidence she needed to go pro. She joined NACrafters to feel more connected to local artists that were on Etsy and encourages others who are considering design to be original and “true to yourself, push yourself to make your design your own and to create a ‘look’”. Her advice for Dads, “all women like to receive jewelry. It doesn’t have to be a diamond or ruby, just the fact that you were thinking of her and that you thought it would look pretty on her is enough.”
Jen Fouts-Detulleo of JFDesigns learned crochet from her grandmother twice. Once when she was young and then again last summer after many years of not using the skill. Even then, she credits the Internet with helping her complete her lessons. She now makes hats and scarves as well as newborn photography props. She enjoys coming up with new designs and loves custom orders because they give her the opportunity to be really creative. She encourages other aspiring artists to be patient, “when you are first getting started, it may seem like no one is ever going to buy your things but they will.”
Jessica Woodroof is The Architect’s Wife and her designs handcrafted, whimsical pieces of wood jewelry when she’s not enjoying papercraft, drawing, embroidery, sewing, baking and photography. Her craftiness first presented itself in a childhood desire to make barbie clothes and 3-d furniture from printer paper for paperdolls. She joined Etsy four years ago and started creating her wood pieces a year ago almost by accident. Says Woodroof, “I went to a wood craft store to buy wood veneer for an entirely different project, which I still haven’t made, and started making jewelry from the veneer instead.” Her advice for moms with a little aspiring artist in their home, “don’t put limits on their creativity and provide them with the tools to spark imagination, creativity, and invention.”
Jessica Moon is the owner of TrevTrevDesigns and the mastermind behind NACrafters. Looking for a way to network with other local artists, she recruited three other leaders (Ari, Jessica and Tarra of Little Sun Bird Studio) and before she knew it, the group grew into what it is today, an active Etsy hub with its own craft show! Jessica herself focuses mainly on collegiate themed charm jewelry but also dabbles in pearl knotting and custom pieces. She gets a thrill whenever she sees people wearing her jewelry and on most Fridays, can spot a co-worker with some of her collegiate earrings on! She encourages aspiring artists to join their Etsy team and network.
Jodie Longino is the owner/creator of Gappy Girl Boutique which as the title implies is all abou girly things such as hair accessories, purses, skirts, and ruffle pants just to name a few. The name “Gappy Girl” came from her daughter Jaelyn who has a cute little gap between her front teeth and inspired Longino to turn her hobby into a business.. She was also my inspiration to start creating and turn my little hobby into a business back in November of 2006. Along with the joy she gets out of making all her creations, she also loves that her work allows her to be home with her children and still meet lots of other creative people. Her advice to others looking to make the leap from hobbiest to pro, “just do it,” says Longino, “it’s intimidating to put yourself out there but it’s also fun and exciting.”
Paula Dickerhoff’s shop Wanna Tangle is a little different from most of those in this article. That’s because she’s one of a kind – literally. She practices an art form known as Zentangle (pen and ink drawings) and she happens to be the only certified Zentangle teacher in Alabama. She is currently teaching classes at the Hobby Lobby in Jones Valley so if you’re looking for a new way to be creative and relax at the same time, check out a class and see what you think. Tell Paula we said “Hi.”
Karen Cooper of Koop Designs is very green. Not green with envy or green like Kermit but green as in earth friendly. All the purses and other unique accessories she sells are created by recycling, repurposing, and reconstructing other items. She loves garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores and especially seeing her “finds” turn into something completely different. Just a quick glance at her shop and you can see what she means. Her game day wallets are a customer favorite but all her items are unique treasures two times over.
Jennifer is the creator and co-editor of Rocket City Mom. She is also a compulsive writer, avid reader, occasional singer and former communications wizard turned toddler wrangler. You can often spot her and her little ones cruising the kiddie hot-spots in their "Rocket Van".